Philadelphia sports fans have earned the right to lack optimism when it comes to their teams. Years and years of heartache, disappointment, expectations and injuries have brought about a psyche of waiting for the safe to drop on their heads.
That next shoe will be dropping any time now. Some would describe the collective sporting outlook as “Negadelphia” and there is some truth that. There are some fans in this city that can tend to see the mole on the supermodel. But for the most part, they’ve come by their skeptical point of view through good ole fashion practice and repetition.
Randall Cunningham in 1991, the 2011 Phillies, the Tampa NFC title game, Joe Carter, Leon Stickle, Patrick Kane. Those names and events leave scars. And I’m one who generally subscribes to the never-get-ahead of yourself philosophy. But what I’m about to say flies in the face of even my own personal creed.
They are that good. Say it to me, they are that good.
One more time, they are that good.
Speaking of the 9-1 Eagles, of course. The same Eagles team that has scored 320 points through 10 games. The most in the NFL and in franchise history through that span of games. The same Eagles team that is eighth in points allowed and the best in the league against the run. They're tied for the fourth-most sacks. And, oh yeah, their quarterback has 25 touchdowns to five interceptions and is the frontrunner for the MVP.
Did I mention the coach?
Doug Pederson has pushed every right button. Take Sunday vs. the Cowboys for example. The Eagles' offense was listless and struggling in the first half. They managed only seven points, even after being gifted two turnovers.
Pederson didn’t feel the need to flip tables or make some drastic adjustments, he simply instructed his players to stay the course, to believe in what they’ve done all season. The Eagles outscored Dallas, 30-0, in the second half (see story).
The point is, they are a complete team. They've won eight in a row. They're 4-0 in the NFC East, 7-0 in conference and 4-1 on the road. They are not a fluke.
And it's OK to enjoy this.
Don't miss out on the opportunity to smell the roses with this special team. Live in the moment. Revel in it, in fact. This doesn't happen very often. Let's get ahead of ourselves a little.
I know you've been burned in the past. I know the futility of never winning a Super Bowl and going 40-plus years without a Cup or more than 30 years without an NBA championship can beat you down. But savor this.
In the history of the Eagles organization, which dates back to 1933, the club has gotten off to a 9-1 start five times. The previous four seasons, they've won a championship twice and twice they've been to the Super Bowl.
Does that mean this team is guaranteed anything? No.
The playoffs and a division title are a pretty good assumption at this point, beyond that all bets are off. Injuries are always the x-factor, home field, etc., we know all the requisite reasons why things can change quickly especially in that league.
But that same logic applies to every team. The Eagles have overcome losing their future Hall of Fame left tackle, their middle linebacker and do-it-all running back/return man and have yet to lose without them. You’re not jinxing or mushing them by believing in them and puffing your chest out a little.
This team is built for the long haul, they are young and good in most positions, which bodes well for the future. But we’re dealing in the here and now and this team has a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing. And it’s OK to say out loud.
They are that good.